Why You Should Never Buy Milk From Aldi

There's a lot to love about Aldi. The bargain supermarket chain embraces a no-frills model that offers shoppers efficiency and competitively low prices on products that are genuinely good. That's why Aldi has a loyal fanbase that visits the chain for everything they need. Not only can you get fridge staples (like butter and milk) and pantry staples (like pasta and canned goods) there, but they are also well known for special finds that only show up on the shelves for a limited time, which adds to the allure of shopping there — you never know what you'll find (unless, of course, you keep track of their weekly ads and plan your trips in advance).

But just like any store, Aldi doesn't necessarily hit the mark with every product they have (they can't all be winners). Before you make a stop at Aldi the next time you are out shopping, you should know that one of the items you should reconsider purchasing there is milk.

Why Aldi milk is cheap in the first place

Milk, like so many other products at the supermarket chain, is so cheap in comparison to what's available at other grocery stores. Part of the reason why milk has a lower price at Aldi is because of the company's philosophy of keeping operating costs as low as possible. Their stores are smaller and have the same format, opening hours are shorter, there is limited product selection, and things such as carts and bags are treated like added luxuries.

Also, Aldi offers milk under the name "Friendly Farms," which helps the grocer keep its milk prices low, as it isn't exactly a big brand name. A milk drinker went so far as to investigate the source of Aldi milk, and found that it had come from a plant operated by Kemps, which also packages more expensive, brand-name milk (via James' Ordinary Guy Reviews). One of the reasons Aldi milk is cheap isn't because it's inferior, because it definitely isn't — it's cheaper because it doesn't carry a more prominent brand name.

Why milk at Aldi might not be the cheapest option

But you might want to do price checks on milk in your local area instead of always going to Aldi for it, because Aldi might not actually be your cheapest option. According to blogger Frugal Minded Mom, prices for milk can vary greatly in states where there are no set minimums on milk, such as Florida where she lives. She found that her local Aldi sells milk for as much as $3.49, whereas another Aldi store about 25 minutes away from her sells it for $2.44.

In the blogger's opinion, this discrepancy was due to competition. Aldi does price comparisons to its competitors in the area, but this means the cost of milk can change depending on the prices in other local stores. So if you're located near stores that sell milk at higher prices, your local Aldi will offer a cheaper price in comparison to the local area — but not necessarily to places a bit further away. 

While it may not be realistic to make a longer trip for milk, taking the time to check milk prices where you live may still be worth it. In the case of Frugal Minded Mom, she found out that milk is cheaper at her Walgreens than at her nearby Aldi (even the one farther away).

Why you should check the milk label at Aldi

Also, if you get your almond milk at Aldi, you should check the ingredient list before you purchase it next time. Wise Bread said that Aldi's almond milk, cottage cheese, and a few other dairy products might be suspect of containing carrageenan, a thickener and stabilizer. It's a common food additive that can be found at most other grocery stores as well. According to Andrew Weil, M.D., food-grade carrageenan has been associated with stomach issues.

The doctor also cited the work of Joanne K. Tobacman, M.D., who has extensively researched the biological effects of carrageenan. Dr. Tobacman believes that all forms of the additive are harmful after finding that exposure to it in the amounts used for processed foods causes inflammation in the body. This is a concerning discovery because chronic inflammation can lead to many serious diseases such as cancer, Parkinson's, heart disease, and Alzheimer's. Dr. Tobacman also reported that when laboratory mice were exposed to low amounts of carrageenan for 18 days, they developed a profound level of glucose intolerance and impaired insulin action — both of which can lead to diabetes.

For these reasons, you might want to avoid dairy and almond milk the next time you're at Aldi — at least until you price check regular milk and look at the label of non-dairy milks.